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Dancing in the Streets Festival
Photograph: VitalKopy

The best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Find the best things to do in Chicago this weekend with our guide to concerts, exhibitions, festivals and more.

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Written by
Zach Long
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Begin August on the right foot this weekend, whether you're heading to Northalsted Market Days or showing up at one of the other summer festivals in Chicago. You can also catch the Goodman Theatre's production of Zulema in various public parks, putt through the new bird-themed mini golf course in Douglass Park or head to the latest edition of Sundays on State. Plus, Patti Smith is performing in Evanston, Chromeo is spinning at Sound-Bar and the CatVideoFest is screening cute videos at the Music Box Theatre all weekend. Keep on scrolling to find more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago right now

Things to do this weekend in Chicago

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lake View

Northalsted Market Days is the largest three-day street festival in the Midwest, welcoming 100,000 people to the streets of Northalsted (formerly known as Boystown) for an LGBTQ-friendly summer celebration of music, food and dance. As usual, this year's event features a long list of performers, including drag performer Trixie Mattel, RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars judge Todrick Hall and openly-gay pop singer Greyson Chance. You can also catch sets from local DJ and tribute acts as well as a performance from the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus—check out the Northalsted Market Days website for a complete schedule.

  • Theater
  • Loop

In Jocelyn Bioh’s ferocious comedy, the queen bee at an exclusive Ghanaian boarding school has to fend off a new-girl usurper to her throne, one that puts her quest for the Teen Miss Universe Pageant at stake. And with director Lili-Anne Brown at the helm, you can expect zero punches to be pulled. The Goodman's production originally made its debut last March and closed as in-person events were canceled—this limited engagement gives audiences another chance to see the show onstage, though you'll need to wear a mask regardless of your vaccination status.

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  • Art
  • Architecture
  • Loop

Best known locally for designing the James R. Thompson Center and Terminal 1 (including its popular neon-lit walkway) at O'Hare International Airport, German-born architect Helmut Jahn spent his career pursuing distinctive visions. In light of his recent passing after being struck while riding a bicycle in suburban Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Center presents a career retrospective, exploring his work and the enduring legacy of the structures he designed.

Showcasing a collection of personal and professional items loaned by Jahn’s family and firm, the exhibit traces his path, beginning with his days as a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Guests can take in photography, models and sketches of Jahn's most famous designs, including the Sony Center in Berlin and the Michigan City Public Library. You'll also get a peek at more recent projects like Chicago's 1000M and the Pritzker Military Archives, which is currently under construction in Somers, Wisconsin.

  • Art
  • Film and video

Projecting a 25-story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, Art on theMart's latest program is inspired by the rhythms and melodies of local musicians. Stop by to see a trio of new animations that honor the Year of Chicago Music, including a celebration of footwork music and dance that features DJ Spinn, the Chicago Bucket Boys, Angel Bat Dawid and more local talent. You'll also spot a video soundtracked by contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird and a collaboration between visual artist Selina Trepp and musician Dan Bitney. Stick around for animations devoted to the "Frida Kahlo: Timeless" exhibition at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and "The Obama Portraits," currently on display at the Art Institute of CHicago.

Art on theMART's array of 34 digital projectors display the 30-minute program at 9 and 9:30pm every evening. The show is best viewed from the section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

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  • Theater
  • Outdoor theaters

The Grammy-winning, Chicago-based folk music group Sones de México Ensemble has partnered with the Goodman Theatre, DCASE, Chicago Latin Theater Alliance and the National Museum of Mexican Art to present Zulema, a musical in which a young girl guides listeners from Chiapas to Chicago to the tune of classic Mexican music. They'll take the show on a three-week tour across 21 Chicago parks this August (similar to last year's live performances of the Goodman's abridged outdoor play Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It!). 

You don't need a ticket to attend the free show, but you can register online at your preferred location to keep abreast of any updates or weather-related cancelations. Here's a full schedule of performances: 

August 5 at 6:30pm – Calumet Park (Calumet) 9801 S Calumet Avenue 

August 6 at 6:30pm – Riis Park (Belmont-Cragin) 6100 W Fullerton Avenue 

August 7 at 3pm – Portage Park (Portage Park) 4100 N Long Avenue

August 12 at 6:30pm – Hale Park (Clearing West) 6258 W 62nd Street

August 13 at 6:30pm – Hermosa Park (Hermosa) 2240 N Kilbourn Avenue 

August 14 at 3pm – Dvorak Park (Pilsen) 1119 W Cullerton Street

August 15 at 3pm – Harrison Park TBC (Pilsen) 1824 S Wood Street) 

August 19 at 6:30pm – Davis Square Park (Back of the Yards) 4430 S Marshfield Avenue 

August 20 at 6:30pm – La Villita Park (Little Village) 2800 S Sacramento Boulevard

August 21 at 3pm – Marquette Park (Chicago Lawn) 6721-6757 S Kedzie Avenue

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • River West/West Town

Set amid the Chicago Brewing District, this jam-band focused street festival invites guests to take in multiple sets from acts like Terrapin Flyer and Paradise Waits while enjoying a cold beer. On Tour Brewing, Goose Island Beer Company, Great Central Brewing Company, Midwest Coast Brewing, Finch Beer and Forbidden Root will be pouring beer all weekend long, accompanired by an array of West Town restaurants and food trucks. Find a tie dye shirt and get ready to dance.

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  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Evanston

Punk godmother Patti Smith hasn't released an album since 2012—instead, she's continued performing and writing, releasing her latest surreal memoir, Year of the Monkey, in 2019. While she stopped through Chicago (where she was born) to celebrate her 70th birthday and perform her seminal 1975 debut Horses a few years ago, her recent setlists have mostly ignored the classic record. When Smith headlines night two of the Out of Space festival at the Canal Shores Golf Course, you're more likely to hear Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder covers than a rendition of "Redondo Beach." Then again, you can never really tell what a living legend like Smith might have up her sleeve.

  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • North Lawndale

Celebrate the grand opening of the new Douglass Park mini golf course (in back of the
Douglass Park Cultural And Community Center), which has been redesigned by a group of local teens. The bird-themed course uses obstacles that allow players to learn about the native bird population in Douglass Park while they putt through the 18-hole course. Advance registration is recommended, but walk-up players will be welcome throughout the day.

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  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • River North

Celebrate the reopening of River North nightclub Sound-Bar with a DJ set from electro-R&B devotees Chromeo, who have managed to channel the slightly-cheesy (but ever-trendy) sounds of ’80s synths and guitars in their original music. Don't be surprised if you hear a few Hall & Oats remixes. Local producers Sances and Très Mortimer also get behind the decks.

  • Things to do
  • Loop

No one would claim that downtown Chicago isn't walkable, exactly, but you'd also be loathe to find it empty of traffic except late at night and other quiet occasions. That'll change ever so slightly starting July 11, when a section of State Street spanning from Madison to Lake Streets will close to vehicle traffic for Sundays on State, a new initiative from the city and Chicago Loop Alliance that invites pedestrians to explore the iconic downtown stretch without interruption from cars—and enjoy performances, fitness classes, local vendors and shopping in the middle of the street.

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  • Art
  • Drawing
  • Wicker Park

Local artist Evan Miller (a.k.a. EvanArt) has a vision of Chicago's distant future, imagining a time when some of the city's music venues, movie theaters and other famous landmarks are mostly intact and overgrown with otherworldly vegetation. It's a time when folks are still biking to the Empty Bottle, but they're wearing space suits and huge helmets instead of skinny jeans and ballcaps. Though you've likely seen Miller's drawings on Instagram, you can experience them in the real world during his "Journey into the Twenty Second City" solo exhibition at Gallery Cafe in Bucktown, showcasing a selection of his sci-fi-influenced urban vistas as well as plenty of prints available for purchase.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Ukrainian Village

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 have arrived (a year late) and Fatpour Tap Works is hosting a pop-up that might be one of the more festive places to watch your favorite events. Rebranding as Fatpour Olympic Village from July 21 through August 8, the Wicker Park brewpub is festooned with flags representing all 205 participating countries as well as a giant Olympic rings sign. Swing by to watch the broadcast and enjoy boozy snow cones, themed cocktails and an international menu of pizzas (try the Fassbender, with white sauce, sauerkraut, beer brats, brown mustard, onions and gouda cheese). You can also compete in bar games like shuffleboard, bubble hockey and Skee-Ball for a chance to win tickets to Lollapalooza or a Cubs game. Check out the Fatpour website for a complete schedule of events during the pop-up's run.

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  • Time Out Market
  • West Loop

Every Sunday from 11am to 3pm, Time Out Market Chicago's chefs offer a variety of delicious brunch dishes, from Hangover Ramen with shrimp and smoked pork to a stack of Buttermilk Pancakes layered with whipped mascarpone. Order as much as you want, grab a mimosa pitcher from the bar and stick around from 1 to 3pm for a set of tunes from the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lincoln Park

Players Sport & Social Group hosts this annual party at North Avenue Beach, where you can show off your volleyball skils on the courts, enter a cornhole tournament or just stick around for a few beers. Tickets include access to DJ sets throughout the afternoon, beach games like giant Jenga and life-size beer pong as well as six drink tickets to use at the event.

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  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Avondale

Chicago-raised musician Liam Kazar spent much of the past year cooking Persian and Armenian meals via his Isfahan pop-up to make ends meet. But now that artists can hit the road once more, the frequent Jeff Tweedy collaborator is releasing his debut solo album, Due North, assembling a collection of slightly-twangy indie rock tunes that feature contributions from James Elkington, Spencer Tweedy and Lane Beckstrom. With an ear for catchy melodies and a warm, casual vocal delivery, Kazar's first record channels the assured energy of a late-career record by an artist who innately understands what makes their music tick. During the second night of Kazar's two-night record release celebration at Sleeping Village, he'll be supported by Sports Boyfriend.

  • Time Out Market
  • West Loop

Community-focused South Loop kid’s shop Kido returns to Time Out Market Chicago to present a morning of family-friendly yoga. Bring you own mat and join Miss Nubia of Kids Jamm for a rocking yoga session that will teach kids (and parents) some new poses and songs. And once you've finished your flow, you can sample Time Out Market Chicago's new brunch menu.

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  • Comedy
  • Uptown

This weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours.

  • Things to do
  • Film events
  • Wrigleyville

If you’ve ever wasted time watching cat videos on the internet (ahem, everybody), the CatVideoFest is for you. Snag a ticket to a screening and you'll see 70 minutes of the best cat footage, animations, music video and more cute clips. Proceeds benefit the Red Door Animal Shelter—and you can only see this compliation of videos in theaters. Just leave your feline friends at home, please!

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  • Bars
  • Loop

It's the summer of hard seltzer (again) and with so many brands joining the boozy fizzy beverage fray, it can be hard to keep up. At the Seltzer Shop pop-up bar at Kimpton Gray Hotel, you'll find more than 25 different flavors from 10 brands, including Flying Embers, High Noon, Press, Sesh Beverages, Two Chicks and White Claw.

Hotel guests and the general public can book a 90-minute reservation online, which includes a complimentary tasting flight curated by the staff (you can also taste up to four flavors from a single brand). You'll also get a can of seltzer of your choice to enjoy during your reservation. 

The pop-up only sticks around until August 8 and we're pretty sure that plenty of people are going to jump at the chance to taste hard seltzers free of charge. Make your reservation ASAP!

  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Museum Campus

In Chicago, the Dave Matthews Band is perhaps best known for dumping nearly 800 pounds of raw sewage from a tour bus into the Chicago River while driving across the Kinzie Street Bridge back in 2004. It's not something that Matthews is likely to acknowledge during the band's two-night stand at Huntington Bank Pavilion, but it's something that may cross your mind as the jam band makes it way through one of its ever-changing setlists (or perhaps when you visit the porta-potties at some point during the show). Here's hoping that the familiar strains of dorm room mainstays like "Ants Marching" and "Crash Into Me" are enough to distract you from thinking back on what Wikipedia dubs the "Dave Matthews Band Chicago River incident."

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  • Bars
  • Ukrainian Village

One of the things we missed most last summer was Sportsman's Club backyard BBQ series, which brings a local restaurant to the bar's patio to cook a meal that's usually paired with a beverage. Thankfully, the events are back in action this summer—the Sunday afternoon gatherings begin on July 4th with a hot dog cookout and feature spots like Jeff & Judes, Lula Cafe and Rose Mary among the lineup. For the uninitiated, the takeovers are first-come, first-served, with the featured chef holding court over the bar's grill and menu. To help restaurants as they rebound, prices will vary this year, but for around $20 guests are treated to a heaping plate of food and a beverage pairing—with the option to add a la carte items for an additional fee.

  • Art
  • Fairs
  • River North

Chicago's newest art festival sets up in the West Loop, with more than 70 artists showing off jewelry, paintings, upcycled artworks and more interesting items. If you're trying to free up some space on your walls, you can bring gently used art to the fest and donate it to The Chicago Furniture Bank on Saturday, August 7 from 10am-3pm.

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  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Greater Grand Crossing

The South Side Jazz Coalition is hosting a series of free monthly jazz performances this summer on the steps of the St. Columbanus Catholic Church in Greater Grand Crossing. Bring a lawn chair, some snacks and prepare to hear some top-notch music from the Chicago jazz community—plus, every performance ends with a jam session. 

  • Time Out Market
  • West Loop

The DJ Firm's mobile DJ Van will be pulling up to Time Out Market Chicago's patio, hosting a set from Chicago's own DJ Jem. Order a drink, grab a seat outside and dance the night away in Fulton Market.

 

 

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  • Things to do
  • Logan Square

In the mood for a drink and some new trinkets? Celebrate the beginning of patio season with a glass of wine and some good old fashioned browsing at this Sunday afternoon pop-up market at Logan Square's Easy Does It. Curated by Sauced—which ordinarily hosts nighttime markets—this weekly series features local makers like South Rhoses Records, IMW, Prism Homegrown and Reformed School, plus a host of other vendors. If you're looking to have a drink, we suggest making a reservation at Easy Does It beforehand, though a select number of tables will be available for walk-ins. 

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Grant Park

The Obamas are coming back to Chicago, in portrait form! Paintings of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama that debuted at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery begin a nationwide tour at the Art Institute of Chicago, where the couple shared their first date.

Unveiled in 2018, the Obama portraits are notable for their striking modern appearances and use of bright colors, standing in contrast to past presidential portraits that favored a classical style and a somber palette. Painted by Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama's portrait depicts the president against a wall of foliage, with flowers symbolizing his heritage (including Chicago's official flower, the chrysanthemum) peeking through the leaves. The portrait of Michelle Obama by artist Amy Sherald renders the former First Lady in shades of grey, wearing a designer dress in front of a vivid blue backdrop.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Millennium Park

For classical music lovers who enjoy taking in a show set beneath Chicago's skyline, the annual Grant Park Music Festival is perennial favorite summer event. This year's series of classical concerts kicks off just before the Fourth of July with a pair of Independence Day Salute concerts, featuring plenty of patriotic tunes. There are 15 more shows on the program this year, including performances of symphonies by Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms; an evening of classic Broadway arrangements and a set of classic Irish songs. Capacity throughout the season will be reduced and free reservations will be required for seating on the Great Lawn and within Pritzker Pavilion. Find more information on the Grant Park Music Festival website.

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • River West/West Town

The folks behind Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up and Frosty's Christmas Bar once again set their sights on summer in Chicago, when the weather is warm and people generally want to be doing something outdoors. Neon Summer transforms a two-acre stretch of land just west of Goose Island into a destination for family-friendly fun during the day and late night thrills for those who are at least 21 years old. The space features a go-kart track, a miniature golf course, axe throwing, plenty of fun photo opportunities and multiple bars serving drinks alongside bites like grilled corn on the cob and neon cotton candy. The price of admission varies based on when you show up and what activities you want to take part in—and make sure to stop by before this summertime wonderland closes in early September.

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  • Theater
  • Circuses & magic
  • Loop

Enjoy dinner and show on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel at Teatro ZinZanni, a 2.5-hour experience that combines circus acts, comedy, cabaret and a meal curated by Debbie Sharpe—the Goddess of The Goddess and Grocer. The show takes place in an ornate, circular theater (designed to resemble a Belgian mirror tent) where the audience surrounds the stage. Guests dig into a four-course meal while watching as comedians, aerialists, acrobats, singers and dancers perform amazing feats and catchy tunes. It's somewhere between Cirque du Soleil and a traditional cabaret show, with restaurant-quality refreshments.

  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • Streeterville

Chicago has traditionally been a city where independent comic artists and cartoonists have thrived, thanks to a steady supply of art school students and graduates charting their own course in the medium. The latest Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition explores six decades of work by local artists, ranging from traditional strips to experimental longform pieces that buck conventions. With pieces from artists like Kerry James Marshall, Lynda Barry, and Chris Ware on display, this survey of comic art features work that hasn't been shown in museums before, offering a look at process of cartooning, the collaborations that it encourages and the creativity that Chicagoans have penciled (and inked) into the world.

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  • Time Out Market
  • West Loop

Need to get out of the house? Switch up your Saturday routine and head to Time Out Market Chicago for storytime from Merit School of Music, a local institution that teaches students of all ages and fosters creativity. Hosted on the second floor, performing artists will combine music, movement and early literacy skills to help your little ones explore their senses. Bring the whole family and prepare to tap your toes and sing along.

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  • Things to do
  • Loop

The Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady is one of the most popular attractions in Chicago. Enjoy a tour with your friends and family and soak up the sunshine while hearing the secrets and stories behind Chicago’s riverfront buildings, as told by expertly trained CAC docents.

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  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • West Loop

Originally established in the late 1800s, the Maxwell Street Market brought vendors, musicians and cooks to an open-air flea market where shoppers could find just about anything they wanted. The market introduced the Maxwell Street Polish sausage, provided a venue for rising Chicago blues musicians and was immortalized in a scene in The Blues Brothers. These days, the market sets up on nearby Desplaines Street (between Roosevelt and Howard) every Sunday, where visitors will find vendors hawking their wares, an abundance of delicious Mexican food and occasional performances by local bands and dance troupes. Don't let the cold or wet weather scare you away—the Maxwell Street Market takes place outdoors year-round.

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  • Comedy
  • Stand-up
  • Logan Square

Now housed in the space on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, the country's longest countinuously running independent comedy showcase continues every Friday and Saturday night. Boasting alumni like Cameron Esposito, Kumail Nanjiani and Hanibal Buress, this stand-up show will introduce you to fresh new faces that may end up starring in Marvel movies or becoming podcast mainstays. Snag an affordable ticket, avoid the two-drink minimum and prepare to laugh your ass off.

  • Art
  • Drawing
  • Grant Park

A self-taught landscape artist who began creating surreal drawings in his South Side apartment in the late ’60s, Joseph E. Yoakum would often create one piece of artwork every day. Made with ballpoint pen, colored pencil, pastel and watercolor, his work drew the attention of School of the Art Institute graduates like Karl Wirsum and Ray Yoshida, who began collecting his creations. "What I Saw" pays tribute to Yoakum's imaginitive imagery, showcasing his colorful landscapes alongside his portraits of African American icons.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Running
  • West Loop

Go for a run and replentish your electrolytes with a beer during this series of 5K walks and runs, that take place at breweries throughout Chicago (and beyond). All of the Illinois Brewery Running Series events are untimed fun runs, more focused on camaraderie than competition. Participants at each event recieve a free beer, glassware or seasonal swag item, plus access to post-run events that feature live music, food, goodies from sponsors and giveaways. Check out the complete schedule of events on the Illinois Brewery Running Series website.

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Suburbs

Featuring a collection of pieces on loan from the Museo Dolores Olmedo in Mexico City, “Frida Kahlo: Timeless” explores the life and work of one of the most well-known painters of the 20th century. With 26 original pieces on display, accompanied by a historical exhibit that dives into the details of Kahlo's life, visitors will be able to gain context for the artist's work, learning about the bus accident that led her to persue a career as an artist and her meeting (and marriage to) artist Diego Rivera. Additional items on display include reproductions of Kahlo's distinctive clothing, more than 100 photographs from throughout her life and a Kahlo-inspired garden. Presented in association with the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, this exhibition is on display at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art in Glen Ellyn.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Lower West Side

Nonprofit gallery and community space Pilsen Art House hosts this weekly indoor and outdoor market, featuring local vendors and artists selling jewelry, candles, paintings and other handmade goods. You can stop by every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer—just don't forget to bring (and wear) a mask.

  • Time Out Market
  • West Loop

Want to sample some of Goose Island’s most interesting beers? The local brewery is taking over every tap at Time Out Market Chicago’s rooftop bar Tony’s throughout the summer, offering its Summertime Kolsch, Hazy Sundae IPA, Sofie Farmhouse Ale and more refreshing brews.

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  • Things to do
  • Fireworks
  • Streeterville

During the summer, one of the best aerial displays you'll find in Chicago originates from Navy Pier. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the fireworks will begin at 9:30pm each Wednesday and 10:15pm each Saturday and you're welcome to enjoy them from Navy Pier's various public spaces. Of course, you can also take in the show from nearby beaches or while cruising along the Lakefront Trail.

  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • Suburbs

See five towering sculptures by South African artist Daniel Popper at the Morton Arboretum's new outdoor exhibition, which spreads the 15- to 26-foot-tall works throughout the natural area. Made of glass-reinforced concrete, wood, fiberglass and steel, the one-of-a-kind pieces in "Human+Nature" depict human figures that evoke the natural landscape they're set amid, including a pair of 36-foot-long hands reaching out from a grove of oak trees and a maternal figure that springs up amid magnolia trees.

Access to "Human+Nature" is included as part of timed-entry admission to the Morton Arboretum, and there's a map that will allow you to easily plan your visit and spot all five of the sculptures along the way.

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Old Town

Grab a mat and take a 35-minute yoga class inside of the "Immersive Van Gogh" experience, moving your body in sync with the music, lights and moving images within the high-tech show. The classes are presented by CorePower Yoga and take place early in the morning on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays—before the exhibit opens to the general public.

Participants must remain six feet apart from one another and wear a face mask while in the space (each class is limited to just 19 people). After you complete the class, you'll receive a Lifeway Kefir to enjoy and may stay in the venue to take in the "Immersive Van Gogh" show without having to strike a warrior pose.

  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Museum Campus

Learn about how Dr. Jane Goodall changed that way that scientists study the natural world in this new exhibition, produced by National Geographic Society in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. "Becoming Jane" tracks Goodall's entire career, beginning when she was a young woman interested in learning about animals in Africa and contiuning as she established her innovative approach to studying chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park.

Opening on May 21, "Becoming Jane" features a collection of Dr. Goodall’s childhood belongings and a replica of her field research tent. The exhibit also harnesses augmented reality technology, allowing guests to interact with represenations of chimpansees and a hologram-like projection of Dr. Goodall.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Ukrainian Village

Every Saturday through August, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is teaming up with businesses on Paseo Boricua (a section of Division Street) in Humboldt Park to host a series of events. Visitors will be able to shop the wares of local street vendors, take in cultural performances such as DJs and salsa dancers and support the businesses that make up Chicago's Puerto Rican community. Check out the El Jolgorio de Salsa y Más Facebook page for the latest updates from organizers.

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Lincoln Park

The Chicago History Museum welcomes a fascinating multimedia exhibition of more than 65 pieces from the celebrated street photographer. Known for beautifully capturing everyday moments, each of the shots on display here was taken when Maier was a suburban Chicago nanny from the ‘50s to the ’70s. Most of them have never been on display, and feature alongside film clips, quotations, and sound bites that help to bring Maier’s incredible work further to life.

‘Vivian Maier: in Color’ opens May 8 2021. Admission is included in the Chicago History Museum entry price. For more information head to www.chicagohistory.org/exhibition/vivian-maier-in-color

Written by Time Out. Paid for by Chicago History Museum

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • West Loop

The home of Chicago's only Infinity Mirror Room (created by Japanese Yayoi Kusama) is open to the public once again, presenting a new collection of one-of-a-kind art installations alongside some old favorites. New additions to WNDR Museum include a multi-sensory experience from S̶A̶N̶T̶IA̶G̶O̶X that uses artificial intelligence, sounds, visuals and scents, as well as an installation called I Heard There Was a Secret Chord that allows guests to become part of an evolving virtual choir.

  • Movies
  • Suburbs

The Rock Island Public House hosts a themed drive-in movie series every weekend, screening classic genre flicks accompanied by beer and food that you can enjoy in your car. Upcoming weekends will feature Italian movies, and Indiana Jones marathon and more. Screenings are free to attend and first come, first served, so check out the calendar and show up early to secure your spot in front of the makeshift screen!

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  • Art
  • Evanston

How can art offer us fortitude in times of hardship? Visitors are invited to explore that question and other pandemic-era musings at "Behold, Be Held," The Block Museum of Art's first-ever outdoor exhibition. Curated by PhD candidate and Block Museum graduate fellow Rikki Byrd, the exhibit showcases 16 large-scale reproductions of work that celebrate the miracle of human intimacy—from touch and self-care to dancing—and how art can serve as inspiration for new ways of engaging with the world. You can view the works on the exterior windows of The Block Museum and adjacent buildings; two additional works, this time curated by local high school students, appear on the window of the Y.O.U. building at Church Street and Dodge Avenue. 

  • Theater
  • Drama

With its stages closed to the public for the time being, the Steppenwolf NOW programming stream is a way to see groundbreaking new theater without leaving the house. A $75 membership gives you access to six works, which will premiere between November 2020 and June 2021. Playwright James Ijames kicks things off in November with the concise 20-minute play What is Left, Burns, which follows a video call between ex-lovers at very different points in their lives. Other works to look forward to include Isaac Gómez's department store drama Wally World, Carrie Coon in a new short called Red Folder and Sam Shepard's two-hander Ages of the Moon.

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  • Art
  • Photography
  • Loop

Photographers An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander present a collection of images that explore the contemporary American landscape and representations of intersectional femininity. Lê's images document monuments from the past that still exist within the contemporary landscape, while Sikander's work captures sculptures and drawings that explore who exactly is memorialized throughout artwork. Admission is free, but you'll need to make a reservation to visit this exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.

  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • Hyde Park

Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Window and more famous costumed crusaders take over the Museum of Science and Industry in this pop-culture-focused exhibition that explore more than 80 years of Marvel comics, movies and memoribelia. You'll find more than 300 items on display, include costumes and props from Marvel movies and original art created for the company's comic books. Snap photos with recreations of some of your favorite character and learn how a comic company became a multi-media cultural juggernaut.

Save money on tickets with a Chicago CityPASS.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Loop

Showcasing the work of female and gender non-confirming artists, the WOMANISH pop-up is a five-story exhibit made up of multiple rooms and installations that explore womanhood from various perspectives. Visitors will be able to visit a recreation of a 1950’s-era diner, view a collage of vintage advertisements with women of color added to them and snap photos of a floral display. The pop-up has been modified with a new set of safety procedures, including capacity restrictions and plenty of hand sanitizer stations.

  • Art
  • Painting
  • Streeterville

Los Angeles–based artist Christina Quarles paints bodies, but not in the way you'd expect. Instead of straightforward studies of the human form, her canvases demonstrate a disregard for gravity and anatomy that finds torsos, limbs and faces arranged in surreal ways. This Museum of Contemporary Art show is her largest exhibition yet, focusing on her output over the past three years, including a large-scale installation that incorporates illusions.

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  • Art
  • Old Town

Step inside of Starry Night and The Bedroom in Arles with the help of more than 75 digital projectors in this high-tech exhibition that explores the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Designed by the Italian creative team that worked on the "Atelier des Lumières" exhibitions in Paris, "Immersive Van Gogh" covers 35-foot walls with animated versions of the Dutch painters work, accompanied by a score that blends electronic and classical compositions. The exhibition takes up residence in the Germania Club Building in Old Town, which will go by the name Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago and host additional interactive art exhibitions in the coming years.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Skokie

Learn about the life of Nelson Mandela and his long fight against apartheid in South Africa and racial injustice around the world through this exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. The exhibit celebrates the life of Mandela and seeks to empower visitors to fight the racism, antisemitism and injustice that still exists in the modern world. “Mandela: Struggle for Freedom” collects original letters and documents that Mandela penned, displayed alongside a recreation of the tiny prison cell where Mandela spent 18 years of his life and the small apartment that served as the backdrop for his first televised interview.

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  • Art
  • Textiles
  • Grant Park

Enter the colorful world of Bisa Butler in this exhibition devoted to the textile artist's portrait quilts, which depict Black subjects that have historically been marginalized. Originally trained as a painter, Butler shifted to making works with fabrics, layering textiles and building on the sewing techniques that she learned from her mother and grandmother. The Art Institute is presenting the first solo exhibition of Butler's work, collecting more than 20 of her vibrant portrait quilts.

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